As photographers we’re all looking for new angels to give different perspectives, bringing new customers to our doorsteps and to give our images the amazing look we envision.
There is a new and very up and coming approach on this and that’s drone photography. Even more known as drone cinematic photography. Its been used in movies and commercials for a decade but only been open to the public for the past couple of years.
There are many manufactures and drones out there but DJI is currently the leading brand. They are also an ever expanding brand as they have now acquired Hassalblad. So will we see a 50mpx drone in our sky’s soon ? “That’s a story for a different day”.
One of the most announced drones at Photokina was the DJI Mavic Pro. With it being the size of the apple iPhone 7 Plus made it very attractive to a lot of drone travellers. But don’t be fooled by its size as it flys through the sky at 40mph for over 4 miles with the brand new ocusinc technology.
So lets look at the specs of this alien machine a bit more closely.
IN THE BOX:
There are at present two different options available for the DJI Mavic Pro. The first is the base model that we will be looking at today. The second model is the ‘Fly More’ combo bundle. The main attraction of the bundle is the extra batteries.
The packaging is very apple like with its clean lines and minimised packaging. Everything having its perfect fit place. Inside you will find the drone, one intelligent battery, six propeller blades, a charger and the hand controller.
All you have to do is charge the units and you’re ready to fly. “Yes that’s right”. Ready to fly literally straight out of the box.
WEIGHTS & SIZES:
The Mavic controller comes in at 316g (0.69lbs). The drone itself (with props) at 739g (1.62lbs). This making the total weight of Mavic at 1,055g (2.32lbs).
The controller comes with different phone connector cables. Lightning for Apple, USB-C for newer phones, and micro-USB for older phones. Although the controller isn’t 100% universal. For example I found that my iPhone 7 Plus fit in the Handel grip was a bit snug with my apple case. Removing the case would help but not overcome the snug fit.
You can fly without using your phone and just use the controller. By doing this you won’t have the camera screen or the full use of the DJI Go App. In total listed are the following automated flight modes you have when you have your phone connected:
- Active Track (will discuss in later section)
- Follow-me (will discuss in later section)
- Terrain Follow
- Point of Interest
- Home Lock
- Course Lock
That’s the controller covered. Lets look at the drone. It’s certainly compact. The first point of call is to unfold the arms that also doubles as the landing gear. This is straight forward even to a point they colour code the propellers to the motors making it fool proof to change broken propellers.
Next is removing the cover from the camera. I know you will be tempted to fly with this on but “Don’t”. Just remove this along with the gimbal lock behind the camera. That’s it. Controller and drone ready.
Double tap the controller power button first then load the app. Now double tap the power button on the Mavic. The all to famous DJI will sound and you’re sorted. If its the first time of powering up its going to perform an update.
Make sure you’re using the DJI Go 4 app and not the DJI Go app. Although both work and fly the unit, only the DJI Go 4 app will give you added features like tripod mode.
THE FIRST FLIGHT:
Make sure you’re in open space for your first flight. Getting started is simple. Press the take off button and up you go in GPS mode. Take a look at this video from my first flight above Reading. Everything was filmed and colour graded in camera using the DJI App. First Flight Video
It is very easy to fly. If you lose sight of the drone just press return to home and watch the Mavic fly its self back to the take off location. This is set by itself when you first turned it on.
There is definitely a market for Drone cinematic photography. Even to a point where I am taking a long hard look at the possibility of what I can earn from this. If you’re going to earn money from your drone then you do need a licence to fly commercially. This will cost you around £1000-£1500. But if you’re not flying it for money then the sky’s the limit.
If you have £1099 burning a hole in your pocket and maybe possibly thinking of upgrading your camera, my advice would be stick with the camera you have and add a drone in to your bag.
Keep an eye on my YouTube channel for more drone footage and setup instructions.